We are discussing biblical ways to receive healing. There are many different methods listed in the Bible whereby you can receive healing. One way to receive healing is through the manifestation of one of the gifts of the Spirit.
The nine gifts of the Spirit listed in First Corinthians 12:8-10 are often divided into three separate categories, because they naturally seem to fit there. Any one of the nine gifts may be used, as the Spirit wills, to aid in the area of healing. The most common spiritual gifts used concerning healing are the power gifts: the working of miracles, the gift of faith, and the gifts of healing. And these “power” gifts will very often work together.
Working of miracles is defined as a divine intervention in the ordinary course of nature that can’t be explained in the natural. For example, the dividing of a stream by the sweep of a mantle is an example of the working of miracles in operation (2 Kings 2:14). After Elijah ascended into Heaven in a chariot in the whirlwind, Elisha received his mantle and smote the Jordan River. Dividing the waters by a sweep of his mantle was the working of miracles because that was a supernatural intervention in the ordinary course of nature.
In the area of healing, many times miracles are received. However this is not necessarily the working of miracles but is simply called healing miracles. Everything that God does is miraculous, in a sense, but receiving healing by supernatural means is not a miracle in the same sense that turning common dust into insects just by a gesture is a miracle (Exod. 8:16), or turning common water into wine just by speaking a word is a miracle (John 2:7-11). Those two occurrences are examples of the working of miracles.
Although in the Old Testament people were healed and the gifts of healings were in operation, gifts of healings were more commonly in operation in the New Testament than they were in the Old Testament.
On the other hand, the working of miracles was more prominent or more commonly manifested in the Old Testament than in the New Testament, with the exception of the gift of working of miracles in Jesus’ ministry.
The Gift of Faith
Now I want to focus on the gift of faith. I like the Weymouth translation of
First Corinthians 12:9, because it calls this spiritual gift “special faith.” You see, this faith is special faith because every believer already has faith (Rom. 12:3).
For example, there is saving faith, or faith to receive salvation, which is also a gift of God.
8 For by grace are ye SAVED THROUGH FAITH; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of
The faith by which you are saved is a gift of God, but it is given to you through hearing the Word. The Bible says, “So then faith [saving faith] cometh by hearing, and hearing by the WORD OF GOD” (Rom. 10:17). But the gift of faith is distinct from saving faith. It is a supernatural manifestation of one of the nine gifts of the Spirit.
The gift of faith is a gift of the Spirit to the believer that he might receive a miracle, whereas the working of miracles is a gift of the Spirit to the believer that he might work a miracle. (One gift receives something, and the other does something.) But these gifts are very closely related. We’re just differentiating between them for the purpose of defining them.
So then, we said that the gift of faith is separate and distinct from saving faith. It is also distinct from the fruit of faith that we’re taught about in the New Testament.
22 . . . the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, FAITH.
Galatians 5:22 says that faith is a fruit of the spirit. However, if you look up this word in the original Greek translation, you will find that it refers to faithfulness.
The fruit of the spirit are for character, but the gifts of the Spirit are for power. A fruit is something that grows. So faith, or faithfulness, is a spiritual fruit that grows in the life of the Christian to establish him in spiritual character. The gift of faith, however, is given supernaturally by the Spirit of God, as He wills (1 Cor. 12:11).
So you can see that there are different kinds of faith. Saving faith comes before salvation, and the fruit of faith comes or develops after salvation. But the manifestation of the gift of faith comes after the baptism in the Holy Spirit, as the Spirit wills.
Many times people—even Christians—who haven’t studied the Bible say, “Well, if God gives me faith, I’ll have it. And if He doesn’t, I won’t.” They read in First Corinthians 12:9, “to another is given faith,” and they may think that’s how all faith works. But that verse is talking about the gift of faith, which is separate from all other kinds of faith. The gift of faith is a gift of the Spirit to the believer that he might receive a miracle!
Remember, the working of miracles employs faith that actively works a miracle. But the gift of faith employs faith that passively expects a miracle as a sustained or continuous action. There may not be anything that the person sees at the moment to confirm that he has his answer. But special faith will carry over a long period of time. In other words, its manifestation can be sustained or continued for the purpose of receiving a miracle.
A Supernatural Endowment
The gift of faith is also a supernatural endowment by the Holy Spirit whereby that which is uttered or desired by man, or spoken by God, eventually comes to pass. In other words, when this power gift is in operation, you believe God in such a way that God honors your word as His own and miraculously brings to pass whatever you believe or say. So the miracle, utterance, assurance, curse or blessing, creation or destruction, or removal or alteration has to manifest when it has been spoken under the inspiration of this gift.
In my own life, I’ve always been one to believe God’s Word and act upon it. But I’m conscious of times when special faith is operating in my life. And it doesn’t bother me a bit in the world whether or not I see anything. I’ll just laugh right in the face of the circumstances, because I know that the Word has been spoken, and it shall to come to pass!
Faith To Raise the Dead
Smith Wigglesworth said that if you will take a step of faith—use the measure of faith you have as a Christian—when you come to the end of that faith, very often this supernatural gift of special faith will take over.
Under Wigglesworth’s ministry, at least three different people were raised from the dead. In his book Ever Increasing Faith, Wigglesworth related one instance of his neighbor being raised from the dead.1
One day Wigglesworth visited a sick neighbor who had been close to death. After coming home from an open-air meeting the following day, Wigglesworth learned that his wife Polly was at this neighbor’s house. As Wigglesworth
approached the house, he heard screaming. He went inside and found the sick man’s wife, crying, “He’s gone! He’s gone!”
Wigglesworth said, “I just passed by the man’s wife and went into the room. Immediately, I saw that he was gone. I could not understand it, but I began to pray. My wife was always afraid that I would go too far, and she laid hold of me and said, ‘Don’t, Dad! Don’t you see that he is dead?’ But I continued praying.
“I got as far as I could with my own faith, and then God laid hold of me. It was such a laying hold that I could believe for anything. The faith of the Lord Jesus laid hold of me, and a solid peace came into my heart. I shouted, ‘He lives! He lives! He lives!’ And my neighbor is still living today.”
Well, you know as well as I do, that receiving the dead back to life is beyond anyone’s ordinary faith. In our ordinary faith, we could pull a dead person off his deathbed, stand him up, and tell him to walk. But that doesn’t mean he would begin to walk. Why not? Because it would take a miracle—and it takes a supernatural manifestation of God’s power to receive a miracle from God!
As I said before, the working of miracles performs a miracle, but the gift of faith receives a miracle. So the working of miracles is more of an act, whereas the gift of faith is more of a process.
We can see that by the gift of faith, the miraculous was manifested in the Scriptures. People were supernaturally fed and sustained. Angels stood guard over and protected the servants of God. Men were delivered from the ferocity of beasts. And the dead were raised to life. But the present-day use of this power gift is still the same.
In the same way that the gift of faith was manifested in Bible days, it can be manifested to receive supernatural blessings, protection, or sustenance today. By this power gift, evil spirits can be cast out and the dead can be raised. But it takes supernatural faith—special faith—for those things to happen!
The Gifts Work Together
As I have mentioned, the three power gifts—the working of miracles, the gift of faith, and the gifts of healings—will very often work together. In the case of raising the dead, all three of these power gifts operate together.
First of all, in raising the dead, it takes supernatural faith—the gift of special faith—to call a person’s spirit back after it has left the body. Then it takes the working of miracles because the body would have started to deteriorate, as in the case of Lazarus (John 11:39).
And then raising the dead also takes the gifts of healings because if the person who was raised from the dead wasn’t healed, whatever he died from would still affect his body and he would die again. So the person would have to be healed too. Therefore, all three of the power gifts are in manifestation when someone is raised from the dead.
Gifts of Healings
We have looked at the “power” gifts of the Spirit—the gifts that do something
—mentioned in First Corinthians 12:9 and 10. We have discussed the working of miracles and the gift of faith. Now I want to focus on the gifts of healings.
In the original Greek translation of First Corinthians 12:9 and 30, this gift is listed as “gifts of healings”—both gifts and healings are plural. Therefore, we will refer to this spiritual gift as the gifts of healings.
As we study the gifts of healings in Scripture, we see that they are manifested for the supernatural healing of diseases and infirmities without natural means of any sort.
For example, Luke, the writer of the Acts of the Apostles and the Gospel that bears his name, was a medical doctor by profession. He accompanied Paul on many missionary journeys and was traveling with him when they were shipwrecked on the island of Melita. When we read the account in Acts 28, nothing is ever said about Luke ministering to anyone while they were there. But the Bible says that Paul ministered to several on the island who were sick or had diseases, and they were healed. How? By the supernatural power of God!
8 And it came to pass, that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and of a bloody flux: to whom PAUL ENTERED IN, AND PRAYED, AND LAID HIS HANDS ON HIM, AND HEALED HIM.
9 So when this was done, OTHERS ALSO, WHICH HAD DISEASES IN THE ISLAND, CAME, AND WERE HEALED.
Now some have mistakenly thought that the gifts of healings refer to the fact that God has given us doctors and medical science. Of course, we believe in medical science and doctors, and thank God for what they can do—we are certainly not opposed to them. But the gifts of the Spirit are supernatural. They have nothing to do with medical science.
Healing that is supernatural doesn’t come by a diagnosis and the prescribing of treatment. It comes by the laying on of hands, anointing with oil, or sometimes just speaking God’s Word in faith! So we not only believe in natural
healing, but we also believe in supernatural healing!
How Jesus Ministered
The Bible is full of examples of the gifts of healings in operation—delivering the sick and destroying the works of the devil in a person’s human body— especially through Jesus’ ministry. However, I often point out the fact that Jesus ministered as a prophet anointed by the Holy Ghost.
Notice, for instance, what Jesus said of Himself in the synagogue, reading from the Prophet Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because HE HATH ANOINTED ME . . .” (Luke 4:18). Then in Acts 10:38, Peter said, “. . . GOD ANOINTED JESUS of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all. . . .”
Jesus never healed anyone until after He was anointed with the Holy Ghost and power. And yet He was just as much the Son of God when He was twenty- five years old as He was at age thirty. So Jesus didn’t heal the sick by some power that was inherent in Him as the Second Person of the Trinity. He healed them the same way anyone else would minister to the sick today—by the anointing of the Spirit or the manifestation of the gifts of healings!
Now the main thing we need to understand is that there is a difference between the manifestation of the gifts of healings and receiving healing by one’s own faith in God’s Word.
When I teach, I emphasize that people can receive healing simply by exercising faith in the Word of God—because it always works. Many of you know my testimony of how I received healing as a young Baptist boy reading Grandma’s Methodist Bible. I wasn’t healed because I believed in divine healing, necessarily. I was healed by acting and standing on Mark 11:24!
I read in Mark 11:24 that Jesus said, “. . .What things soever ye DESIRE, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” Well, I desired healing. So I prayed and began to say: “I believe I receive healing for my deformed heart, I believe I receive healing for my paralyzed body, I believe I receive healing for my incurable blood condition,” and so forth.
To make a long story short, God’s healing power was manifested in my body. No one laid hands on me. That power came unto me directly from God. But when the gifts of healings are in operation, they’re manifested through another person unto you, as the Spirit wills. That’s the difference. The healing always comes from God, however.
Healing as a Gift vs. Gifts of Healings
Now some have said, “Any time you receive healing, it’s a manifestation of the gifts of healings.” But I disagree with that statement. Healing is a gift, all right, in the general sense that anything you receive from God would be a gift. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that these spiritual gifts are in operation. For example, that wasn’t the case when I received healing as a young boy on the bed of sickness.
Others have taken this reasoning one step further, saying, “Healing is a gift. So anytime you get healed, you have received a gift of healing.” But I can’t accept that explanation either, because it doesn’t line up with Scripture. Take a look at First Corinthians 12:28-30.
1 CORINTHIANS 12:28-30
28 And GOD HATH SET SOME IN THE CHURCH, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, THEN GIFTS OF HEALINGS, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?
30 HAVE ALL THE GIFTS OF HEALING [healings] . . .?
Notice in verse 28 that God set “some” in the Church. Paul isn’t talking about spiritual gifts, because he said in verse 27, “Now ye are the body of Christ, and MEMBERS in particular.”
No, Paul is referring to men equipped with spiritual gifts. God set members equipped with spiritual gifts in the Church—first, apostles; secondarily, prophets; thirdly, teachers; and so forth.
You see, the “gift” of the apostle, prophet, or teacher is a ministry gift given to the Church, not an individual gift that someone might receive (Eph. 4:8,11). In other words, it’s not given to bless you! It’s given in order to bless others. It’s a ministry!
First Corinthians 12:28 goes on to say, “after that miracles,” meaning: “After those who are equipped with the ministry gifts which Paul just mentioned, there are some in the ministry who are equipped with the gift of the working of miracles.” (A better way to say it would be that the gift of the working of miracles operates by the Spirit more consistently in some people’s ministries.)
Next Paul mentions the gifts of healings, and he asks a few rhetorical questions: “Does everyone have the ministry of an apostle?” Certainly not. “Does everyone have the ministry of a prophet?” No. “Does everyone have the
ministry of the teacher?” No. We could all teach to some extent, of course. But there are those whom God has put in the Church who are specifically equipped or anointed by the Holy Spirit with a teaching gift.
So, you see, the gifts of healings are not referring to gifts given to individuals to bless them personally. They are ministries of healing that are given to some in order to bless others. I like to say it this way: The gifts of healings are supernatural manifestations of the Spirit that are manifested through someone to someone else!
Laying On of Hands
When I started out in the healing ministry as a Baptist boy preacher, I wasn’t conscious of any kind of anointing or special manifestation of the Spirit. I just prayed for people in faith through the laying on of hands and anointing with oil. I received the baptism in the Holy Ghost later, but I continued to pray for the sick the same way.
Then in 1938, I accepted the pastorate of a little Full Gospel church in the blacklands of northcentral Texas, where I met my wife Oretha. After we were married, Oretha and I lived with her folks, who owned a large farmhouse. Neither she nor her parents had received the baptism in the Holy Ghost yet, so when we all gathered to pray, I did my best to behave myself.
But one night we got to praying and I unconsciously started praying in tongues right out loud. I prayed in tongues approximately 45 minutes, and then the Spirit of God said to me, “Lay your hand on your wife, and I’ll fill her with the Holy Ghost.” So I reached out my hand and laid it on top of Oretha’s head.
Oretha had never sought the Holy Ghost a minute in her life, but the second I laid my hand on her head, she threw up both hands and started talking in tongues instantly. She never stammered or stuttered. She just began speaking fluently in other tongues as the Spirit of the Lord gave her utterance.
Well, that same night around midnight, the Lord ministered to me by His Spirit concerning the gifts of healings and His sending me out to minister to the sick. Now as I said, I would anoint people with oil and lay hands on them for healing, simply praying with them in faith. In other words, none of the gifts of the Spirit were in operation. God’s healing power would manifest itself directly unto them.
But on occasion I would be conscious of a manifestation of God’s power
working through me. That didn’t always happen (it was as the Spirit willed), but I was aware of it when it did. I really didn’t do a whole lot about it, though, except yield to the Spirit of God.
Ten years later I was pastoring a church in east Texas, and I started to become dissatisfied spiritually. Naturally speaking, I had every cause in the world to feel good and rejoice. Folks had been getting saved, filled with the Spirit, and healed in the church. But I was just flat dissatisfied.
So I spent some concentrated time shut up in the church, praying, reading my Bible, and seeking God about ministry. While I was at the altar praying one day, the Lord asked me: “What are you going to do about the healing ministry and what I said to you ten years ago in that little farmhouse in northcentral Texas?”
I said, “To tell You the truth, Lord, I didn’t intend to do anything about it.” He said, “You’re going to have to—or else.”
Well, I had run into some of the Lord’s “or else’s” through the years, so I said to Him, “Yes, Sir! I believe I will.” And I left the last church I pastored in February 1949 to go out into field ministry and endeavor to do what God had called me to do.
One night while holding a meeting in a Full Gospel church in Henderson, Texas, I was praying for the sick by the laying on of hands. A woman from the church came up, and the Spirit of God gave me a word of knowledge concerning her: “Thy heart is not right with God.”
I knew I should have spoken that word out, but I was reluctant. (That’s a terrible thing to have to tell someone.) So I bit my tongue and shut my mouth to keep from saying anything. And, suddenly, the anointing lifted from me like a cloud and floated away.
I had been staying in the parsonage as the pastor’s guest, and the minute I lay down to go to sleep that night, it felt as if my heart just stopped. I reached up to feel my chest and couldn’t feel any heartbeat, just a faint fluttering or shaking. I rolled out of bed and hit the cold linoleum floor, yelling at the top of my voice: “Lord, I’ll obey You next time! I’ll do what You want me to do!” I was so loud that I woke the pastor and his wife in their bedroom at the opposite end of the house!
I made my way to the dining room and called out to the pastor to come pray for me. As death fastened its final throes on me, I could feel myself slipping out
of my body. I’d had the same experience twice before, so I knew that death had come.
I wanted to leave a word for the pastor to tell my wife and children. But when I opened my mouth to speak, I began to prophesy instead. I had never done much prophesying before, but I started to prophesy out of my spirit—and God began to speak to me through my own words.
You see, I had not fully obeyed Him in some areas concerning the gifts of the Spirit, because I was afraid what people would think. I thought they’d think I was trying to attract attention to myself if I ministered the way He was leading me when His gifts were in manifestation.
But the Spirit of the Lord said to me: “When Peter and John saw the man who was crippled at the gate called Beautiful, Peter stopped and said to him, ‘Look on us!’ ” (Acts 3:4).
2 And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful . . . ;
3 Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms.
4 And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, LOOK ON US.
5 And he gave heed unto them, EXPECTING TO RECEIVE SOMETHING OF THEM.
6 Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of
Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.
As I continued to speak out of my spirit, the Lord explained: “Peter didn’t say that to draw attention to John and himself or to brag about something they had. He said it in order to raise the man’s expectancy – so that he would expect to receive what Peter and John had from God” (v. 5).
Then the Spirit of the Lord said to me, “It wouldn’t have done any good for Peter to say, ‘The gifts of healings are in operation,’ because the man wouldn’t have known anything about that. The New Testament had not yet been written.”
The Spirit of the Lord continued, “You see, people can be healed directly from Me because they believe and exercise faith in the promises of God, just as you did. But many people are not at the place spiritually where they can receive healing on their own. Therefore, I want you to tell them that I have anointed you and sent you to minister to the sick.
“When you do that, you’re not attracting attention to yourself, you’re arousing the people’s expectancy. If you can just arouse their expectancy, they wouldn’t
need any more faith than just to expect Me to heal them through you as My gifts are in manifestation.”
I saw the difference then. And that’s what I want to get over to you. You can be healed directly, simply by believing God—and I believe that’s the best way to receive healing. But everyone is not going to receive that way. That’s why we need to pray along these lines.
Pray what? That all would have the gifts of healings? No, we already saw in First Corinthians chapter 12 that not everyone will have the gifts of healings operating through them. But thank God, some will!
Well, thank God for the privilege to believe and act on God’s Word. We should be doing that continually. But we can also pray that the gifts of healings would be supernaturally manifested among us even more, and expect God’s power to flow unto others through members of His Body, as the Spirit wills!